STEPPIN' ON A RAINBOW
The eponymous PI Kinky Friedman (aka the Kinkster) is up to his usual amusing antics in his 14th outing (after 2000's The Mile High Club). From beginning to end, the narrative sizzles with crackling dialogue and bawdy wit. New Yorker Kinky is trying to lead his quiet life as a lazy private detective while mooning over his friend Stephanie, with whom he would like to have more than a platonic relationship, when a problem comes over the blower (that's telephone to most of us) from the Kinkster's old friend, Willis Hoover, now a columnist for the Honolulu Advertiser. Their mutual eccentric friend (all Kinky's friends are eccentric), Mike McGovern, has disappeared from the beach in Hawaii, and Hoover needs the Kinkster's help finding the missing man. Kinky persuades Stephanie to join him for a trip to the 50th state, where they meet up with Hoover and pursue McGovern's trail. They soon get into very deep waters, particularly after beautiful local reporter Carline also disappears. The crew chase around several islands, with a surprising denouement that reaches back into Hawaiian history and legend. As usual, a winning style and lively characterization more than compensate for the serviceable plot. One word of warning: for those whose taste doesn't run to foul language, this book might not be their cup of tea. 10-city author tour. Agent, Esther Newberg.(Sept. 5)
FYI: Texas Monthly magazine recently hired Friedman (the author, not the character) to write a regular column; he has received a fan letter from President Bush.